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Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to DevelopYour Business Online by Chris Brogan

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Chapter 70. Writing E-Mail That Gets Answered

Writing e-mail[234] seems to be a recurring topic of mine. I receive about 600 messages a day at present, and most of these require an answer. Some e-mails get a faster response, and some take days. Here's the difference (plus a few more ideas).

ONE DECISION PER E-MAIL

It seems counter to cutting down on e-mail to ask you to limit the decisions required in a message to one per e-mail, but I've seen it have the opposite effect. To make my point, think about choosing to go out to eat as an example: The first message is, "What day is good for you?" and the second message is, "What type of food do you like?" and the third message is, "Should we invite Jay, even though he laughs a lot and makes it hard to concentrate?" These three questions all require a certain level of decision making. The e-mail about which day (better solved by a phone call) is different from the one about what type of food, and both are different from the one about whether to invite Jay (also probably better solved by a phone call).

DON'T EVER SAY, "QUICK QUESTION"

I say this because what almost inevitably follows are five to nine paragraphs explaining why the question is being asked. It's as if lots of context is needed. It's almost always not. I've written to complete strangers and used fewer than 200 words to convey my needs and interests. In fact, I do that often.

Here's a quick question.

From: Chris Brogan
To: You
Subject: Will you register for PodCamp Boston 3?
I'd like ...

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